Survival Guide: Camping with Kids

It's not hard, but it's not easy - & here's why:

We ventured out to camp on an island here in Southeast Alaska. This entailed loading a skiff up with all of our camping gear to accommodate an infant, toddler, teenager and two adults. It was comical to say the least of all the things I thought I needed, but never ended up using. Hind sight of course is always 20/20. The boat ride to the island that took us nearly a week to figure out it's name, was a short 20 minute boat ride. We set up camp but due to technical difficulties with buoying the boat off the shore, we made our way home and left our camp set up. Needless to say, night one was unsuccessful. We set out the next morning, bright and early after we retrieved all the necessary equipment, finding our campsite untouched. What a relief it was, because that told us that we didn't have to share the island with any bears. This being the main reason I appreciate island camping over camping on the mainland. Not that bears can't swim - but I prefer to remain naive to that possibility.

Night two was far more productive. We arrived just in time for the heat and set up a spot to soak it up for the remainder of the afternoon. With little ones, we had to set up sun protection measures which included sunshades and SPF friendly attire. It was HOT! & we just are not acclimated for the weather we were having but that didn't stop us from taking full advantage. It wasn't until the sun began to set that we retired to the campsite that was nestled in the trees providing a cool place to sleep. We cooked dinner, talked about the future plans of my teenage brother who was spending the summer with us and tuckered in for the night. Albert didn't get much sleep because the tide was all over the place and with the boat being buoyed, that mattered significantly for our ability to leave the island when it was time. The main concern was ensuring that the boat didn't become beached.

Kiara on the other hand, slept like a dream. In fact for the first time in a long time, she slept until nearly noon. The next day was just as relaxing and we enjoyed time spent unplugged and fully immersed in the experience of it all.

Games: YES! Because even when there is endless amounts of adventuring to be done, a toddler's mind can focus for only a short time before they're on to the next. I have to say, adults are not the exception...we too enjoyed campfire games, amidst marshmallow roasting and delving into a freshly picked murder mystery.

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Things we are so thankful we brought with us...

Infant Seat: Ava is at an incredibly wiggly stage and constantly on the move. It was a godsend to be able to set her in there and keep her entertained, even for the short term.

Sunshade: Yeah, initially brought for baby - but we all partook in the shade that was bestowed. A win, for thinking ahead.

Bassinet: There are so many different kinds on the market, but I just brought the one that came with the girls' stroller. Perfect for naps, which even at this age seem to be few and far between. Am I asking too much?

Swimsuits: Cooling off & dunking can never be a negative, unless there's risk of swimmers itch...then just don't.

Next Time: I wish we would have brought a carrier, it would have made things much easier. I was grabbing rocks and twigs out of baby's hand like a bad game of the "Claw Machine", except faster and with more precision.

To Conclude: Camping can be absolutely a good time. With kids, it's certainly more challenging. Over packing is inevitable and going with the flow is a must. It's not as simple as it was before kids, because just when you're settling in to that perfect position or getting to that nail biting section of chapter 15 - You're being summoned by your little's because everything is new and peeing in the woods is a game. Good luck on your next adventure & don't forget to tell us about it (: